2 - Wheat. Linnaeus classified spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L) as a different species than winter wheat (T. hybernum L). Yet they are both strains of the same wheat. They will cross and produce fertile hybrids. They should have been classified as sub-species.
3 - Ladybugs. The ladybird beetle (Coccinellidae) has been divided into a number of different "species," but solely on the basis of different wing covers and the number and arrangement of spots on their backs.
4 - Song sparrows. For over two centuries four species of sparrows in North America had been listed (Lincoln, fox, swamp, and song). Gradually this number increased as taxonomists moved westward and found additional sparrows. Soon we had lots of sparrow "species." But as more and more were discovered, it was recognized that they were but intermediates between the others! So the experts finally got together and reclassified them all as sub-species of but one species, the song sparrow (Passereila melodía).
5 - Foxes. The red fox (Vulpes fulva) and the Newfoundland red fox have been categorized in different species, although the only difference is a paler reddish coat and shorter tail for the Newfoundland variety. Six taxonomists list 10 varieties of red fox, while 2 others list one species (Vulpes fulva) and count 12 sub-species. All these foxes are actually in one true species.
6 - Cattle. There are several different subspecies of cattle (Bos taurus L). Although the American bison (Bison bison L) and the European bison (Bison bonasus L) have a similar morphology (appearance), they will still generally crossbreed with cattle. In addition, it has been discovered that the African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) also interbreeds with them—yet the bison and cattle have been placed in totally different genera.
7 - Corn. One expert (*Sturtevant) categorized 6 species of corn (sweet, flint, flour, pod, dent, and popcorn) while other taxonomists acknowledge that they are all only varieties of one species.
8 - Finches. In the chapter on Natural Selection, we discuss *Charles Darwin's finches (13, 14, 17, or 19; the count varies regarding this look-alike bird), which he found on the Galapagos Islands. Although about the same in size, shape and color, and together form a set of sub-species of finches which originally came from South America, yet Darwin called them different species—and therefore a proof of evolution. Those finches made a strong impression on his mind.
9 - Platypus. (*#9/3 The Creature that Fits no Category*) This one is so strange that it does not fit any category of animals.
"When zoologists examined a platypus for the first time, some suspected a hoax, thinking that parts of different animals had been sewn together. The platypus has the fur of an otter, the tail of a beaver, the bill and feet of a duck, and the venomous spurs of a fighting gamecock. Although the platypus is a mammal, it lays eggs and does not have nipples (milk oozes out of pore openings in the abdomen)."—*Asimov's Book of Facts (1979), p. 135.
INCREASING SUB-SPECIES—There are many different sub-species in some species while there are but few for others. A key factor seems to be the ability of the creature to travel, whether by seed, spore, or in person.
For example, the tiny fruit flies cannot travel very far, so there are many varieties of them. The animal with the most sub-species appears to be the southern pocket gopher (Thomomys umbrinus) with 214 subspecies and, next to it, the northern pocket gopher (T. talpoides) with 66. Another highly isolated species is the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) with 66 subspecies.
In the case of animals that have been domesticated, such as dogs, cats, cattle, sheep, pigeons, and chickens, there are many sub-species as a result of selective breeding. The same holds true for cultivated crops (corn, beans, lettuce, and cabbage).
There are instances in which sub-species generally do not breed across sub-species. The other extreme is instances in which animals above the species level will produce young from an apparent cross-breeding. In some cases these are true species, and should have been classified as such. But there are also instances in which breeding did NOT occur—although it appeared to take place! In true fertilization, the male and female elements unite and produce young. But there are times when two different species have been bred and young have been produced—in which no true breeding occurred!
This false breeding takes place when the presence of male sperm stimulates the egg to begin production on a new life-form, but the sperm is rejected because it is from a different species. The resulting birth is known as parthenogenesis. Scientific analysis has established that this false breeding across true species works in exactly the manner described here.
It is significant that mankind can never successfully breed across with any other species, including any of the great apes.
"There is no evidence of the origin of a hybrid between man and any other mammal."—*Edward Colin, Elements of Genetics, 1946, pp. 222-223.
One careful researcher (Frank Marsh) spent years tracking down every report of crosses above that of true species. Each time he found them to be hoaxes. One instance was of bird feathers sewn to a stuffed animal skin. It made good copy for a newspaper article, so it was printed.
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